Ensequence Appoints Two New SVP's

--Round-Up of Recent News from Ensequence

Portland, Oregon-based interactive TV authoring solutions provider, Ensequence, announced two additions to its senior management team last week: Andy Addis--who was formerly EVP of marketing at gestural navigation specialist, Hillcrest Labs, and prior to that, SVP of marketing and new products at Comcast--has joined the company as SVP of marketing and business development; and Tom Epes--who was formerly general manager of US services and support for the communications sector at Microsoft--has joined the company as SVP of sales. The two new hires--who Ensequence says each have more than 25 years of experience in executive business management--will report directly to the company's president and COO, Peter Low. "Andy and Tom bring a unique understanding of how to use technology to drive business profitability in the media industry to our team," Low said in a prepared statement. "They will each play critical roles in meeting the business goals of programmers, distributors and advertisers, helping our customers make TV even more powerful and engaging by delivering the most dynamic interactive TV experiences in the industry."

According to Ensequence, while at Comcast, Addis led the definition and launch of the MSO's digital cable, VOD, DVR and HDTV offerings, and also played a leading role in a number of cross-MSO initiatives, including co-chairing the MSO Marketing Council, comprised of the chief marketing officers of all the major US cable operators. "The ability to deliver interactive television to millions of people is no longer an idea--it's a reality," Addis said in a prepared statement. "My experience in cable, digital media and brand management gives me insight into how Ensequence can partner with programmers, distributors and advertisers to enrich the viewing experience and drive ratings and advertising effectiveness."

Epes, meanwhile, spent more than 16 years in senior sales and consulting services management positions at Microsoft. For the past seven years, Ensequence says, he led commercial and consumer sales and business development efforts across the company's enterprise software, mobile, television and hosting businesses for the cable, telecommunications and media industries. He will be tasked with expanding Ensequence's distribution and sales channels, and with driving strategy for delivering commerce solutions to interactive TV viewers. "Similar to the way the browser changed the way consumers engaged with their PC and the Internet, companies like Ensequence are revolutionizing the way consumers interact with programming content and advertising campaigns on television," Epes said in a prepared statement. "It's an exciting time to get involved with Ensequence as the adoption of interactive TV is accelerating and the company is leading the charge."

In other recent news from Ensequence:
--Earlier this month, the company launched a product called iTV Manager, which it bills as the industry's first "cradle-to-grave" lifecycle management system for creating and deploying large volumes of interactive TV experiences. For more on this, see the story published on itvt.com on April 2nd.
--Last month, the company announced that it had teamed with US satellite-TV provider, DISH Network (uses OpenTV's middleware platform) and History (formerly known as The History Channel) to develop a 24/7 interactive TV application, dubbed "History Interactive." The app offers DISH Network subscribers a range of features, including history factoids, daily questions related to History's programming content, and the ability to set DVR timers and recorders for upcoming History shows. The app has also been integrated into a new History series, "Battles BC," which premiered March 9th. The series focuses on the strategies, tactics and weapons used by ancient military leaders, such as Hannibal, Alexander and David: during each episode, DISH Network subscribers can use History Interactive to access background information, review the biographies and credentials of the show's on-camera experts, and view a gallery of images highlighting the show's production. In addition, a broadcast-synchronized game invites viewers to test their knowledge of strategic and tactical decisions made during the battles covered by the show. "The 'Battles BC' and 24/7 interactive experience gives History new ways to engage audiences, and provides both the network and its sponsors unprecedented insight into consumer engagement and viewing behavior," Mark Garner, SVP of distribution marketing and business development at History's parent company, A&E Television Networks, said in a prepared statement. "As the entire media industry continues to evolve, History continues to be in the forefront of new and developing applications that will benefit both our viewers and distribution partners." Added DISH Network EVP, Michael Kelly: "DISH Network continues to enhance its ITV platform, and the addition of History Interactive and 'Battles BC' will provide new and engaging experiences for our subscribers. As interactive television applications and sponsorship opportunities merge, we will...find new ways to deliver more targeted results for our clients."
--In February, the company announced that it had received a US patent for its configurable template interface. It bills the customizable software interface, which it says is being used by customers in the US and the UK, as enabling quick and easy authoring of interactive TV experiences and advertising, and as allowing production personnel to quickly make updates to interactive applications (e.g. by adding new graphics, text, calls to action, viewer RFI forms, and voting and polling questions) without having to re-author content. It claims that the technology enables scalability across the interactive TV workflow, and that it allows advertisers, programmers and distributors to create "hundreds" of ITV experiences from a single master template while retaining some measure of creative flexibility. "Interactive television must be able to scale in order for the entire industry to move forward," Ensequence CEO, Dalen Harrison, said in a prepared statement. "This template interface enables scalability by making interactive television development fast, consistent and efficient. An experience that used to take several months to develop can, in many instances, now be created in a matter of weeks and updated in as little as a few hours--making it easier than ever before for advertisers, programmers and distributors to quickly build a scalable interactive television business." More information on the new Ensequence patent ("Configurable Interface for Template Completion Patent," US Patent #7,430, 718) is available at http://patft.uspto.gov, by doing a patent number search under "issued patents." Ensequence currently has over two dozen US patents pending approval, as well as five approved patents covering the creation, production and deployment of interactive TV across multiple platforms.

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